Alas, poor Cliff Bleszinski, forced to give up on so many game ideas after the closure of Boss Key Productions. If you’re interested in Bleszinski’s various early concepts, he’s posted a few on Twitter: DragonFlies (a dragon-riding air combat game), DogWalkers (a VR mech shooter with multiple people playing different parts of a mech), and Donuts (described as “Mario Kart with animals on water in VR”). You can choose for yourself whether or not these games would have likely been successful, although the term “VR” is showing up there an awful lot; these are still the very early stages of concept design, so it’s impossible to know.
If only we hadn’t all collectively decided to play other games instead of LawBreakers and Radical Heights!
Meanwhile, CliffyB’s staff took to Twitter to discuss the way the studio’s closure was handled. Here’s lead producer Ron LaJoie.
Boss Key is closing down following the struggles of LawBreakers and Radical Heights, though the latter will apparently remain playable for now. Cliff Bleszinski broke the news on Twitter.
There’s still plenty of stuff going on in the development of Radical Heights, and Cliff Bleszinski is showing it off on Twitter. What sort of stuff? Well… women, for one. Yes, playable ladies are on deck, and a preview image shows them in all of their shoulder-padded leg-warmed glory. Why there are shoulderpads on a workout outfit is a mystery for the ages.
The team is also working on allowing players to dive through windows, which looks very dramatic and would tend to result in a face full of glass if attempted in real life. There’s also a tip reminding players to take on the “Special Delivery” bike matches for powerful armor, so if you’re one of the players fighting it out in the game, take that under advisement. Also, please do not attempt to jump through any windows in real life. It’s going to hurt and you shouldn’t do it.
If Radical Heights is not a success, it’s the fault of Epic Games, according to Cliff Bleszinski. The head of Boss Key Studios recently tweeted out an accusation that Epic Games (creator of Fortnite and the Unreal engine, among other things) is trying to poach some of his staff, which comes a few months after the co-founder of Boss Key Studios left to join Epic on a heretofore unannounced project. He went on to state that there are still more things to be done in the battle royale genre, but they may remain unseen based on this employee poaching.
Epic has remained mum on the accusations of poaching employees, so it’s hard to be sure whether it’s actually happening or not. One might also want to look at the game’s numbers and its overall playerbase figures following its surprise reveal and early access launch and take that into account as part of this narrative, as well.
The face of LawBreakers development and Boss Key is arguably Cliff Bleszinski, but Arjan Brussee was co-founder of the studio and half of the brain trust behind the studio as a whole. We use the past-tense there, though, because according to Twitter Brussee is no longer with the studio. He’s announced that he has left and is heading back to Epic Games to work on a “secret project,” with no word on what that might entail.
Of course, that’s what makes it a secret, but you know how it is.
Bleszinski himself has wished Brussee the best of luck on Twitter without any acrimonious undertones. There’s no announcement at this point about who will take over Brussee’s duties at Boss Key. It’s not an entirely unusual move after a studio’s first major release has shipped for people to move on to different careers; we’ll see what this means in the longer term for Boss Key (if anything) in the months to come.
So, how’s life on the good ship LawBreakers? About the same as it was before, although we do now have an eagle-eyed shot of the game’s Steam charts actually registering a flat zero players. Not that its seven-day high is exactly much better.
Here’s the good news for the game: It has a free weekend this weekend, along with a half-price sale running through the end of Tuesday next week. So you can try out the game for yourself and see if it sticks with you; considering the most recent negative reviews on the game have largely concerned the lack of players, it certainly can’t hurt matters.
For those of you who have been following this for a while, you may remember that Cliff Bleszinski’s most recent interview placed the blame on the game’s current state on media outlets and insisted that his team recognizes that the game’s life cycle is a marathon, rather than a sprint. We’ll see if this puts a bit more momentum in the game’s step.
Here at Massively Overpowered, we generally try to avoid cursing, but there really are no two ways to put the Cliff Bleszinski quote from his latest interview on LawBreakers’ post-launch struggles. Let’s provide the whole thing, for context:
[The gaming press is] just looking for clicks, man. They’re just looking for ad revenue. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, and they’re welcome to print whatever they want – but as far as I’m concerned, they can fuck off. We’re going to keep making our game for our fans.
Bleszinski stresses that the game’s struggle is simply to get its concurrent user counts high enough to make matchmaking reliably and enjoyable, with repeated statements that the studio is focused on building the community over time and engaging with them. He also claims that any perception problems are a result of people being overly negative, citing the game’s high number of positive reviews on Steam.
So what’s the key element in revitalizing the flagging player numbers for Lawbreakers? Cliff Bleszinski puts forth that part of the onus is on him to be, in his own words, “less of a dick” when interacting with people online. The game’s team is also revisiting the game’s overall marketing image and hopefully communicating more effectively what the game is about in play, which should hopefully entice more players to the game; Bleszinski repeatedly compared the process with the game to a marathon rather than a sprint.
We need the bodies. We need to keep fluffing up the CCU. We need to do what we can to let people know this is a really sweaty palm type of experience that can hopefully lend itself to e-sports. But you know, I have to keep this game alive, first and foremost.
He also states that the player numbers have been humbling, but that the game’s PlayStation 4 user base is doing fine. (The interviewer notes that matchmaking attempts on the console were unsuccessful over multiple attempts, but the tests in question were in Australia, which could be the culprit.) Check out the full interview if you’re interested in seeing whether the game can turn both is image and its player numbers around.
Lawbreakers seems to be turning into another one of those sad reminders that even renowned game designers have their failures from time to time.
The magic touch of Cliff Bleszinski (Unreal Tournament, Gears of War) hasn’t been enough to save this online shooter. Lawbreakers pretty much limped out of the gate and hasn’t been improving its numbers since release last month. In fact, VG247 notes that the game’s Steam Chart shows that the title has crashed from a peak of 7,482 players during testing to a mere few hundred gamers on any given day.
Keeping a critical mass going is important for PvP shooters, so it’s obvious that something needs to be done to bolster the population. One possible approach would be to make the game free-to-play and look at other revenue streams instead of box sales.
On the plus side, the game did get a shot of free publicity with a recent Penny Arcade comic strip, so there is that. It’s also possible that the PlayStation 4 numbers are much higher and capable of sustaining the game if PC cannot.
Hey, kids! Want to read a big long interview with Cliff Bleszinski about launching LawBreakers? Because you probably shouldn’t read it if you’re an actual kid. There’s a lot of swearing and one anti-government rant in there about having to get your car inspected. But there is some useful information therein, like how Bleszinski thinks that streaming the LawBreakers alpha testing was a mistake that gave people the wrong impression. He also thinks that the title’s initial poor numbers are a reflection of the game in a live state is more about a marathon than a sprint, that the numbers will come naturally over time.
Bleszinski goes on to state that the game is meant to appeal to core shooter audiences rather than having what he describes as “kiddy bumpers” and an aesthetic moving away from what he refers to as “Anna and Elsa running around killing the zombies.” If you don’t mind a lot of swearing, by all means, check out the full interview.
Nexon’s CliffyB-designed online shooter LawBreakers enters its first round of closed beta today.
Back in August, dev studio Boss Key told fans it was going “back in the lab” to work out some of the kinks and take into account feedback from alpha testers.
This weekend’s closed beta event, which runs until March 19th, trots out those lab-baked changes, including Discord chat, three new roles, two new maps, an updated UI, fresh tutorial elements, achievements, a balance update for most of the original roles and modes, and performance optimizations. There’s also some testing going on with regard to customization and stashes.
Launch is still planned for later this year; you can sign up for future beta rounds on the official site!
Boss Key’s CliffyB and Rohan Rivas star in a new dev vlog today rounding up the results of LawBreakers’ recent alpha playtest and offering an explanation of what’s next for the studio. In short? More iteration, more feedback, and more testing.
“We’re only at like 65 to 70 people right now,” CliffyB says. “Essentially right now the time period is back in the lab. So you’re hearing like [sound effects] hammers and drills and whatnot as everyone’s opening the game back up, opening the patient, kind of reoperating and retuning everything.” We’re glad he’s a game designer and not a doctor!
The duo have big plans in particular for the Enforcer, the Assassin, matchmaking, game modes, and maps. Expect to be able to play it at GamesCom too. The whole vlog — and a new infographic from the team — is below.
Gears of War developer Cliff Bleszinski has been hard at work at his next title, code-named Project Blue Streak, for a while now, and this week he’ll be revealing all of the juicy details.
A teaser site for the game has gone up, although Bleszinski confirmed that “The Shattering” in the URL does not refer to the new game’s title. A countdown timer on the site points to tomorrow while a brief video shows a broken, post-apocalyptic world with sirens going off in the distance.
Project Blue Streak has been assumed to be an online first-person shooter, although this has yet to be fully confirmed. The fact that it’s being published by Nexon gives us reason to hope that there will be MMO elements if not a full-blown MMO experience under the hood.
You can check out the first teaser video for the game as you wait for tomorrow’s reveal!